I chose this story because the kids love it and I consider it to be a 'classic' for 2nd graders. Many of them have read the story, but its still fun to re-read. The characters clearly change, and the author's purpose in developing them is very straightforward. My goal is to really focus on how questions help the reader determine what motivates the character and how the character changes.
If you have not taught lessons about question writing, I encourage you to look at some of the earlier lessons so your students get some practice with writing and answering questions. These lessons include The Whys and Whens of Questioning about Literature, Big Questions About Informational Text, So What Do You Think, Using Evaluative Questions with Literature, Evaluative Questions-Pick Your Side and Argue, and What Are You Asking About Informational Text?.
Underlined words below are lesson vocabulary words that are emphasized and written on sentence strips for my Reading & Writing word wall. I pull off the words off the wall for each lesson, helping students understand this key 'reading and writing' vocabulary can be generalized across texts and topics. The focus on acquiring and using these words is part of a shift in the Common Core Standards towards building students’ academic vocabulary. My words are color coded ‘pink’ for literature/’blue’ for reading strategies/’orange’ for informational text/'yellow' for writing/’green’ for all other words)
Get students engaged
Common starting point
Give the purpose of the lesson
Introduce the strategy
Practice strategy - modeling & guided practice
Students work-formative assessment
Add to the project
My students had great ideas about questions to ask, although the evaluative questions were harder for them to write. As they worked, I prompted some students who were struggling to reread what they had written as they thought of other questions. This student had a good idea, but he needed prompting to use different questions and not reword a previous question. This is such great practice for the students - writing questions and using text to answer them.
Although this lesson is about a literature topic, we use this questioning strategy in all academic areas. If my students can become skilled at asking and answering questions with evidence, that will really help them comprehend both literature and informational text.
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Scaffolding and Special Education: This lesson could be easily scaffolded up or down, depending on student ability.
For students with academic challenges, you may need to partner them with another student or prompt them with questions to write. They should do fine with the illustrations - 'how did the character change?', but need help formulating questions.
For students with more language, really encourage them to go deeper with the inferential questions. Instead of 'How did her clothes change?', encourage them to ask, 'How did her personality change?' or 'Why did she challenge the dragon to do some much?'.